New York High School: George Washington

Baseball poll: June 11

June, 12, 2012
The baseball season is over. Grand Street Campus claimed the PSAL title, while Iona Prep won the CHSAA championship. Here's the final poll of the season.

Here's the poll:

1. Grand Street Campus (21-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus vanquished George Washington to take home the Public Schools Athletic League title.

2. Poly Prep (20-4/Last week: 2): Poly Prep finishes the year ranked second, another fine season for the school.

3. Iona Prep (18-6/Last week: 4): Iona Prep defeated Fordham Prep to win the CHSAA title.

4. George Washington (19-3/Last week: 3): George Washington could not repeat as champions as it fell to Grand Street Campus in the final.

5. Fordham Prep (16-9/Last week: 5): Fordham Prep beat St. Joseph, but then lost to Iona Prep in the final.

6. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (17-6/Last week: 6): St. Joseph by-the-Sea lost to Fordham Prep, falling one game short of the CHSAA final.

7. Xaverian (19-3/Last week: 7): Xaverian was the favorite of the CHSAA tournament but instead had to watch as Iona Prep was crowned champions.

8. Tottenville (17-4/Last week: 8): Tottenville had a great year, but surely has to think it should have gone further in the PSAL tournament.

9. Cardozo (18-1/Last week: 9): Cardozo also had a fantastic season, but needed to make it further than the semifinals of the PSAL tournament.

10. St. Raymond (14-7/Last week: 10): St. Raymond had a strong season, although it couldn't keep up its hot play once the CHSAA tournament began.

Baseball poll: June 4

June, 7, 2012
It's been a crazy week in the playoffs. Defending CHSAA champion Xaverian was ousted, as well as Cardozo, the top seed in the PSAL playoffs. The champions will be crowned Friday. Here's this week's poll, which has plenty of changes.

Here's the poll:

1. Grand Street Campus (20-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus swept Telecommunications to set up the final vs. George Washington.

2. Poly Prep (20-4/Last week: 4): Poly Prep is the ACIS champion after it defeating Fieldson in the title game more than a week ago.

3. George Washington (19-2/Last week: 7): Not that you would expect differently, but the defending PSAL champs are back in the finals.

4. Iona Prep (17-6/Last week: Unranked): Iona Prep won five straight games in the CHSAA tournament and is in the final.

5. Fordham Prep (15-8/Last week: Unranked): Fordham Prep will face St. Joseph by-the-Sea with the winner going to the CHSAA final.

6. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (17-5/Last week: 10): St. Joseph by-the-Sea will meet Fordham Prep to determine who faces Iona for the title.

7. Xaverian (19-3/Last week: 2): Xaverian lost to Fordham and then was ousted by Molloy in the CHSAA tournament.

8. Tottenville (17-4/Last week: 3): Tottenville fell in the quarterfinals to John Adams, which had to leave a bitter taste in its mouth.

9. Cardozo (18-1/Last week: 5): Cardozo fell victim to eighth-seeded Telecommunications in the quarterfinals.

10. St. Raymond (14-7/Last week: 8): Losses to Iona Prep and St. Joseph by-the-Sea eliminated St. Raymond from the CHSAA tournament.

Baseball poll: May 28

May, 30, 2012
The playoffs have begun and it's time for teams to fight for their seasons. Poly Prep has claimed a title and others are looking to do the same. Here's the poll.

Here's the poll:

1. Grand Street Campus (17-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus is into the quarterfinals after defeating Environmental Studies and Taft.

2. Xaverian (18-1/Last week: 2): Xaverian earned the top seed in the CHSAA tournament after it defeated St. Raymond Sunday.

3. Tottenville (17-3/Last week: 3): Tottenville breezed by RKA and Manhattan Center to advance to the quarterfinals.

4. Poly Prep (20-4/Last week: 4): Poly Prep is the ACIS champion after it defeating Fieldson in the title game last week.

5. Cardozo (18-0/Last week: 5): Cardozo is also in the quarterfinals after a pair of wins against Newtown and Murry Bergtraum.

6. George Washington (16-2/Last week: 7): Not that you would expect differently, but the defending PSAL champs are back in the quarterfinals.

7. Norman Thomas (16-2/Last week: 9): Norman Thomas will meet George Washington in the quarters after wins over LIC and James Madison.

8. St. Raymond (13-5/Last week: 10): St. Raymond is the No. 2 seed in the CHSAA tournament after falling to Xavieran in the battle for the top seed.

9. Moore Catholic (13-3/Last week: 6): Moore Catholic is the No. 3 seed in the CHSAA tournament after an impressive win against Fordham Prep.

10. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (12-3/Last week: 3): St. Joseph by-the-Sea takes on Monsignor Farrell in the CHSAA Tournament.

Baseball poll: May 21

May, 21, 2012
As the playoffs beckon, we have the same two teams in the top two spots. Grand Street Campus is still No. 1, while Xaverian is holding down No. 2.

Here's the poll:

1. Grand Street Campus (15-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus enters the Public Schools Athletic League Class A tournament as the team to beat.

2. Xaverian (14-1/Last week: 2): Xaverian rebounded from its loss against St. Francis Prep with two league wins and a non-conference victory over Tottenville.

3. Tottenville (15-3/Last week: 4): Had it not been for the forfeited victories, Tottenville would have finished this year undefeated in league play.

4. Poly Prep (19-4/Last week: 5): Poly Prep is in the ACIS final and recovered nicely from losing to Tottenville last weekend.

5. Cardozo (16-0/Last week: 6): Cardozo finished the year undefeated in league play and will try to keep it going into the playoffs.

6. Moore Catholic (12-2/Last week: 8): Moore Catholic moves up two spots after a pair of impressive wins over St. Joseph by-the-Sea.

7. George Washington (14-2/Last week: 7): George Washington lost its season finale to Norman Thomas, sending the Trojans into the playoffs on a sour note.

8. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (13-3/Last week: 3): St. Joseph by-the-Sea takes a slide after losing twice to Moore Catholic over the past week.

9. Norman Thomas (14-2/Last week: Unranked): Norman Thomas is back in the poll after beating George Washington to force a tie atop the division.

10. St. Raymond (12-4/Last week: 9): St. Raymond lost a tough one to Xavier, but is able to stay in the poll for at least another week.

Baseball poll: May 7

May, 7, 2012
Grand Street Campus continues its reign with a 2-0 week. The same 10 teams from last week remain in the poll, with Fordham Prep slipping after a loss to All Hallows. Here's the poll.

1. Grand Street Campus (10-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus went 2-0 this week with wins over FDR and New Utrecht.

2. Xaverian (10-0/Last week: 2): Xaverian picked up nice wins against St. Edmund Prep and Bishop Ford this week.

3. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (7-0/Last week: 3): St. Joseph by-the-Sea defeating Archbishop Stepinac in its lone game this week.

4. Poly Prep (12-3/Last week: 4): Poly Prep has now won nine in a row after it took down Collegiate, Horace Mann and Xavier this week.

5. Cardozo (11-0/Last week: 6): Cardozo moves up one spot after its 2-0 week with wins over Newtown and Franklin K. Lane.

6. George Washington (11-1/Last week: 7): George Washington went 3-0 with wins over Environmental Studies, Graphic Communications and W. 50th St.

7. Tottenville (10-3/Last week: 7): Tottenville defeated New Dorp twice and then took down Curtis to remain at the top of Staten Island A.

8. Fordham Prep (8-1/Last week: 5): Fordham Prep takes a hit in the poll as it lost its first game of the season to All Hallows.

9. James Monroe (9-0/Last week: 9): James Monroe is now 11-0 in league play after a pair of wins this past week.

10. Moore Catholic (7-1/Last week: 10): Moore Catholic went 2-0 with wins over St. Peter's and Cardinal Hayes.

Baseball poll: April 30

April, 30, 2012
Finally, a team stays atop the poll. Grand Street Campus did not lose this week and therefore remains the No. 1 team in New York City. Here's this week's poll.

1. Grand Street Campus (8-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus went 3-0 this week with wins over Lincoln, Lafayette and Telecommunications.

2. Xaverian (8-0/Last week: 2): Xaverian had a quality win against Molloy and stays undefeated in the CHSAA.

3. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (6-0/Last week: 3): St. Joseph by-the-Sea defeated Spellman and Monsignor Farrell twice to improve to 6-0 on the year.

4. Poly Prep (9-3/Last week: 4): Poly Prep has now won six in a row after it defeated Fieldston this weekend to get to 9-3.

5. Fordham Prep (8-0/Last week: 8): Fordham Prep continues its hot start to the season and rises three spots after a big win against a tough St. Raymond team on Sunday.

6. Cardozo (9-0/Last week: 6): Wins over Long Island City and John Adams keeps Cardozo undefeated in Queens A East play.

7. George Washington (8-1/Last week: 5): George Washington falls two spots in the poll after losing to Manhattan Center this past week.

8. Tottenville (7-3/Last week: 7): Tottenville would be undefeated in league play had it not been for those forfeited wins to start the year.

9. James Monroe (9-0/Last week: Unranked): James Monroe returns to the poll as it is 9-0 in Bronx A West play this season.

10. Moore Catholic (5-1/Last week: Unranked): Moore Catholic makes its debut in the poll, having only lost to St. Joseph this season.

Baseball poll: April 23

April, 23, 2012
It's starting to seem like basketball season around here. For the third straight week, there's a new team atop this poll after Poly Prep defeated George Washington in a non-league game. Here's this week's rankings.

1. Grand Street Campus (5-1/Last week: 2): Grand Street Campus swept its league games this week against EBC/Bushwick Campus ans has three games this week.

2. Xaverian (5-0/Last week: 3): Xaverian had quality wins against St. Francis Prep and McClancy this past week as it shows it might be the team to beat in the CHSAA.

3. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (3-0/Last week: 4: St. Joseph by-the-Sea continues its ascension after defeating Moore Catholic and St. Peter's this past week.

4. Poly Prep (7-3/Last week: 6): Poly Prep won four straight games after losing two straight, including an impressive win against George Washington Saturday in a non-league game.

5. George Washington (6-0/Last week: 1): The Trojans continue to win its league games but have fell to Poly Prep and Cardozo in non-league games on the year.

6. Cardozo (7-0/Last week: 5): Cardozo is also undefeated in league play after defeating Forest Hills twice and William Bryant in Queens A East action this past week.

7. Tottenville (4-3/Last week: 8): Tottenville is above .500 in league play now after wins against Susan Wagner and Petrides this past week.

8. Fordham Prep (3-0/Last week: 10): Fordham Prep started the season off on a right foot with a big against Iona Prep, as well as beating Mount and Stepinac.

9. Norman Thomas (7-0/Last week: Unranked): Norman Thomas makes its first appearance in the poll as it off to a 7-0 start in Manhattan A East this year.

10. Cardinal Spellman (4-1/Last week: Unranked): Cardinal Spellman is also making its debut in the poll after racking up wins against Monsignor Farrell, Iona Prep and others.

Baseball poll: April 16

April, 16, 2012
An exciting week that saw the conclusion of the James Monroe and George Washington tournaments also saw our top team in New York City lose back-to-back games. With those results on our minds, here's our poll.

1. George Washington (3-0/Last week: 3): The Trojans are in first after winning their tournament by defeating Cardozo, who had previously knocked them off.

2. Grand Street Campus (3-1/Last week: 6): Grand Street Campus won the vaunted James Monroe tournament by defeating the Monroe, Tottenville and Xaverian.

3. Xaverian (3-0/Last week: 5): Xaverian picked up a win against Holy Cross in league play and lost in the Monroe Tournament final to Grand Street Campus.

4. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (1-0/Last week: Unranked): St. Joseph by-the-Sea knocked off Iona Prep in league pay and then took down Poly Prep to complete its week.

5. Cardozo (4-0/Last week: 2): Cardozo made it to the George Washington tournament final but fell to the hosts in a rematch.

6. Poly Prep (3-3/Last week: 1): A big drop for Poly Prep as it lost games to Fieldston and St. Joseph by-the-Sea this week to fall to .500.

7. Iona Prep (2-1/Last week: 4): The Gaels lost to St. Joseph in league play and Xaverian in the Monroe tournament, but did knock off Monsignor Farrell.

8. Tottenville (2-3/Last week: 7): Tottenville finished third in the Monroe tournament, losing to eventual champion Grand Street Campus in the semifinals.

9. James Monroe (4-0/Last week: 8): An unfavorable quarterfinal matchup against Grand Street Campus led to Monroe's early departure from its own tournament.

10. Fordham Prep (0-0/Last week: 10): We're still waiting for the Rams to play their first game of the season so we can see them in action.

Baseball rankings: April 9

April, 9, 2012
There have already been some great games to kick off the baseball season. We've seen some upsets in tournaments, including Cardozo knocking off George Washington, and there have been some other surprising results. Here's our first poll of the year.

1. Poly Prep (2-0): Poly Prep is off to a fast start this season and picked up a nice win in league play this week by defeating Riverdale.

2. Cardozo (4-0): Cardozo is undefeated in league play and knocked off George Washington in a tournament this week, sending a message that the Judges are going to be a tough out in the Public Schools Athletic League.

3. George Washington (3-0): The Trojans might have lost in their tournament but they are still a loaded team and are already off to a 3-0 start on the season in league play.

4. Iona Prep (1-0): The Gaels got their season going on the right foot when it knocked off CHSAA finalist All Hallows in their season opener last week.

5. Xaverian (2-0): The defending Catholic High Schools Athletic Association champion has beaten Bishop Ford and Christ the King in league play to start the season.

6. Grand Street Campus (3-1): Grand Street won both of its division games this week as well as going 2-0 in pool play during the Monroe Tournament.

7. Tottenville (4-1): The PSAL finalists lost their one game by forfeit but have won every other game and also have been 2-0 in pool play during the Monroe Tournament.

8. James Monroe (4-0): The Bronx power is off to yet another great start with an undefeated record in league play as well as going 2-0 in pool play in its tournament.

9. All Hallows (1-1): All Hallows started the season with a dominant win against Hayes but then fell just short against Iona Prep in a battle between two of the better teams in the league.

10. Fordham Prep (0-0): Fordham Prep gets the final spot in the poll based on its reputation coming into the year as it has not played a league contest yet.

GW's Cedeno first two-time champ

June, 25, 2011
In sports, being a part of a winner is mostly the product of being in the right spot at the right time. That’s what George Washington pitcher Jariel Cedeno attributes to becoming the first baseball player in the Public School Athletic League’s history to win a championship with two different teams, as he won one with Norman Thomas in 2009 and another this season with George Washington.

However, it doesn’t hurt that he has an uncanny knack for rising to the occasion.

"He really thrives on pressure," George Washington interim coach Nick Carbone said. "It doesn't matter who he's facing, he really likes the pressure."

Cedeno’s road to becoming a two-time champion started two years ago while he was pitching for Norman Thomas. He was a sophomore and was usually behind the two seniors, including eventual Yankee draft pick Mariel Checo, and a junior. He didn’t have a lot of confidence and was having trouble learning to pitch.

"It hurt him because he wanted to be a power pitcher and that’s what they were," Norman Thomas head coach Nerva Jean Pierre said. "So he’d watch them and try to pump up the gun like them. We tried to tell him to pitch within himself and not always worry about trying to throw 90."

Injuries forced him to start a big game against division rival George Washington. He was nervous before the game, but after he threw a complete game, winning 3-2, he emerged as a different pitcher.

"I always say that a young pitcher is like a tea bag, you never know what you are going to get until you put it in boiling water," Cedeno said.

Working on the advice of his coach, Cedeno scaled back his pitches and used more curveballs and changeups instead. Cedeno attributes that game as the one that showed him to be confident in his own abilities and not to try to throw like a pitcher he is incapable of emulating.

"That game helped me a lot," Cedeno said. "It helped me to realize that I didn't need to throw 90 in a game. I just needed to use my head, make my pitches, and force the batter to adjust. That gave me so much confidence as a pitcher."

Two years later he was pitching for, not against, George Washington, as he had been kicked off the Norman Thomas team after a fight, and he still had that confidence that gives him the ability to pitch with no fear, no matter how intense the situation. This time he played a much bigger role en route to his second PSAL championship, taking the role as one of the staff anchors.

"He's a guy I know that I want to get the ball in his hands in big games," Carbone said. "He says 'I gotcha' meaning that he's going to step up and I need to hear him say that. I calm down right away when he tells me that."

Carbone said the semifinal game against Lehman this year was a prime example of that as Cedeno allowed just one unearned run over six innings in a 5-1 victory. During the game, he put quite a few base runners on, but he rose to the occasion to get out of every jam and won the game, sending Washington to the city finals.

"It doesn't surprise me at all that he has won two championships," Carbone said of his 5-7, 195-pound pitcher. "He takes people by surprise because he doesn't look like a prototypical pitcher, but he's really handles the mental aspect of this game well.

"When the game is on the line, it always made me feel better to have the ball in his hands."

Rapid Reaction: PSAL SF: George Washington 5, Lehman 4

June, 3, 2011
NEW YORK –It couldn’t have been scripted much better with George Washington facing Lehman in the Public Schools Athletic League baseball semifinals on Friday night. It had been Lehman head coach Adam Droz who filed a complaint against GW coach Steve Mandl for allegedly recruiting one of his players that led to Mandl’s one-year suspension.

If the plot wasn’t exciting enough already, it got juicier once the game started as the player with the winning hit for the Trojans, Fernelys Sanchez, is who Mandl allegedly recruited.

“I know everyone is making a big deal about the entire situation, but I was just trying to focus on the game,” Sanchez said. “Fortunately I was able to come up with the big hit to help my team win.”

After originally being called out in his at-bat, only to have his out be called a foul ball, Sanchez drove home the go-ahead runs in the fifth to lead George Washington to a 5-4 win over Lehman in Game 1 of the PSAL Class “A” semifinals at MCU Park in Brooklyn.

“I don’t think you could write a better script than that,” Trojans interim coach Nick Carbone said of Sanchez delivering the game winner.

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Lehman jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first when starting pitcher, Steven Pinales, helped his own cause with a bases-clearing triple.

With the score 3-1 in the fifth, Washington made its rally. Nelson Rodriguez doubled and came around to score on a fielder’s choice by Alexis Torres. The Trojans later tied the game an error by Lehman second baseman Andy Ramos on a ball hit by Henry Rodriguez.

That brought Sanchez to the plate with two on and two outs. He grounded to first and was called out, but after Carbone came out to argue the call the umpires determined Sanchez had fouled it off his foot in the batter's box. On the next pitch, Sanchez drove the ball to center field for a two-RBI single and gave the Trojans a 5-3 lead.

“That’s a situation where we were able to capitalize on a second chance,” Carbone said. “That’s baseball. This deep in the playoffs, you can’t afford to give up second chances. Good teams will capitalize one it and that’s what we were able to do.”

TURNING POINT: Sanchez got the big hit, but it would not have been possible without Ramos’ error as it led to three unearned runs.

“There is no doubt that is the turning point,” Droz said. “Between that and the umpires overruling the call, which was a fair ball, how are my kids supposed to react to that?”

STAR OF THE GAME: It is fitting that Sanchez would be the star. He went 2-for-3 and added a stole base.

“With all of the off-the-field stuff I made sure to sit down with him and have a talk about keeping his head in the game and not to worry about that other stuff,” Carbone said. “In a situation like that you don’t want to do too much and I think he did a great job keeping his head in the game.”

QUOTE OF THE GAME: “I don’t know if we’ve led yet in the playoffs. It’s not comfortable being in that situation, but we are not going to fold. We are resilient and we find a way to win.”—Carbone

Tottenville 8, Grand Street Campus 3: In the first semifinal, Tottenville was forced to use closer Vinny Aiello as its starter with all its other pitchers having pitched too often this week.

The move paid off as Aiello went 6.2 innings in his first start and allowed just one earned run as Tottenville beat Grand Sreet. Campus 8-3 to take a 1-0 lead in its series. George Kanczian's two-RBI single gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead they never gave up.

UP NEXT: All four teams are back at it again at MCU Park on Saturday. Washington and Lehman will be first at 3:30 p.m. and Grand Street Campus tries to keep from being eliminated by Tottenville at 6:30 p.m.

Rapid Reaction: GW 5, Beacon 4

April, 27, 2011
NEW YORK – If there was one thing that George Washington coach Nick Carbone wanted his players to understand after Wednesday’s game vs. Beacon, it was that they aren’t going to steamroll every team they face. The Trojans had to start “thinking baseball.”

That’s what junior outfielder Erick Roman did when he watched Beacon pitcher Kai Glick throw him four straight balls to draw a walk-off walk in the Trojans’ 5-4 win over Beacon Wednesday at home.

“That’s the kind of play we needed,” Carbone said. “We didn’t need him to go up there and hit a grand slam. We needed to get something. Go up there and challenge the guy. Get hit by a pitch. Draw a walk. That’s what he did.”

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: In a battle of two undefeated teams in the Public Schools Athletic League, neither team really took control early and the teams were tied 1-1 headed into the third. Then, Beacon’s Dylan Long slapped a sharp grounder into centerfield for a double that scored two runs.

Batters started to make more contact off GW’s freshman pitcher Reynaldo Hernandez in the middle innings. Giovanni Dingcong drove a ball to deep center for a double with one out in the fourth. Garrison Poulis later drove him home with a two-out RBI double to push lead to 4-1 for Beacon (6-1).

At the same time, Beacon pitcher Juan Adorno was cruising. He recorded five of his six strikeouts in the first three innings and had the Trojans (7-0) reeling.

“In the beginning, it was ugly,” Roman said.

But George Washington didn’t fold. It erupted with a three-run fifth inning to force a 4-4 tie. Hernandez responded by striking out two batters in a 1-2-3 sixth.

George Washington could have slammed the door in the sixth when it loaded the bases with one out, but Alexis Torres struck out looking and Justin Ferrer shot a hard line drive to right that left everyone stranded.

In the bottom of the seventh, Glick, who entered the game in the fifth, struggled with his command and GW capitalized. Glick would have been Beacon’s ace this season, but he’s still coming back from a shoulder tear and only cleared to throw 60 pitches before the game.

He walked Henry Rodriguez and Fernelys Sanchez to start the inning. With two outs, he intentionally walked GW slugger Nelson Rodriguez, bringing Roman to the plate. He threw three pitches that got away from catcher Avery Perez – two in the dirt and a high fastball over his head – before he walked Roman to end the game.

“We played great,” Beacon coach Thomas Covotsos said. “We played every inning like it was the last game of the World Series. I’m very proud of our guys.”

TURNING POINT: Carbone was begging for a base runner when his team took its hacks in the bottom of the fifth. First, Roman drew a walk. Osvaldo Pichardo followed with a single to put two runners on. Then, Alexis Torres crushed a 2-2 fastball off the fence in left center for a triple that scored Roman and Pichardo. Torres initially strooped at third but Beacon’s shortstop bobbled the relay throw and Torres scurried home to tie the game.

“His curveball wasn’t hitting for strikes,” Torres said of Adorno. “I knew I just had to be patient and I was just waiting on the fastball.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Torres struck out twice in the game but each time he reached base, he scored a run that tied the score. He drew a walk in the first and scored on an error when Adorno mishandled a bunt by Henry Rodriguez, tried to catch the runner at second base and instead hurled the ball into the outfield.

Torres’ towering triple in the fifth scored three runs and gave the Trojans all the momentum they needed to crawl out with a win.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: The Trojans didn’t get any offense from superstar catcher Nelson Rodriguez. The junior went 0-3 with two strikeouts--but he saved the game with his defense.

Ferrer muffed a grounder at first to put a runner on to start the seventh and Poulis attempt to bunt the runner to second, but instead popped the ball up. Rodriguez caught it then doubled up the runner at first.

“That play saved the game for us,” Carbone said.

Roman said it took all the pressure off.

“It was like, ‘Whoa,’” Roman said. “We just all turned to each other and knew we needed to just get a hit.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We came in and won the championship game (in the GW Holiday Tournament) 21-0,” Torres said. “Today we proved that even when we don’t play our best, we can play with any team in the city.”

UP NEXT: George Washington is schedule to play West 50th Street Campus Monday at 4 p.m. Beacon is scheduled to play Norman Thomas that day.

Baseball preview: GW ready for season without Mandl

April, 1, 2011
NEW YORK -- For nine non-league games and one league contest, George Washington baseball players hung long-time coach Steve Mandl’s jersey on a fence in their dugout. Mandl’s No. 32 is also hanging in the team’s locker room.

“It’s just a way to show guys, to show us and other teams that no matter what they do, they’re not gonna stop us,” said senior pitcher Jariel Cedeno. “They still have to play the Trojans. They still have to face us.”

That’s been the mantra at George Washington. Nothing is going to change for one of the most dominant baseball programs in New York City’s history.

On Feb. 15, the PSAL handed Mandl a one-year suspension for violating the league’s recruiting policy. Mandl, who has claimed innocence, and his attorneys later filed a claim against the PSAL, the board of education and Chancellor Cathleen Black seeking that his suspension be rescinded. In the meantime, assistant Nick Carbone is serving as interim manager.

It’s a heavy bat to carry. Mandl has logged more than 900 wins in 27 years including 26 division championships, two city titles and counts major league slugger Manny Ramirez among his alumni.

Carbone, 29, served as Mandl’s assistant coach for the past three years. He’s made it clear that he has no intention to pretend to he his Mandl. But “we’re going to do things as if Coach Mandl were here,” he said.

Carbone comes from a coaching family. His father, Gerry, is a longtime coach at Torrington High in Connecticut, where Carbone played in high school and who the Trojans play Saturday. Carbone went to play outfielder at Manhattan College. He was an assistant at Riverdale Country School for three years before taking a job as a history teacher at GW.

“I don’t know if I had the courage to ask Coach to be a part of his staff,” Carbone said. “I guess intimidated would be the word. It’s just that, a guy with that presence and that reputation and a team with that reputation, you’re asking yourself, ‘Does he want an assistant? Does he need an assistant?”

Then he realized that if he ever wanted to coach baseball again, he’d have to choke up on his bat and take a swing. It took him three years to build the nerve to talk to Mandl about joining his staff.

“I’m glad I did,” Carbone said. “It’s been incredible.”

The alleged claim against Mandl is that he helped orchestrate a transfer of a player from Lehman in the Bronx. According to the notice of claim, the unnamed student was denied a geographic and safety transfer before being allowed a medical transfer and enrolling at GW in 2009.

Mandl’s suit claims that the league failed to conduct an adequate investigation and that claims by Lehman coach Adam Droz that Mandl recruited Sanchez, are false.

“I know in my heart the allegations are false,” Carbone said. “I think that will come out over time. I think the truth will surface. But at the same time, we got to keep things going. The kids need to play. We’ve got a tradition to uphold. The bottom line is baseball is baseball.”

No one on the team claimed that the suspension or impending lawsuit has become a distraction. The team has star juniors in Sanchez and catcher Nelson Rodriguez, a .524 hitter last year, who was named to Team USA. Sanchez has tremendous speed at centerfield.

Carbone doesn’t expect anything less of them than Mandl would. In fact, Carbone seems more impressed with the kids’ poise.

“It feels a little different,” Rodriguez said. “But it’s still the same thing. It’s still baseball.”

The players still see and speak to Mandl, who is a gym teacher at George Washington, but they aren’t lamenting the situation. It’s simply given the team a giant chip on the shoulder.

“I look at it like they took our coach away but, at the end of the day, we’re on the field,” Cedeno said. “We are the ones that play. We are the ones that determine what our future is. Losing a great coach doesn’t mean the whole time has to lose. It’s just going to give us the motivation to go out there and play.”
Steve Mandl’s phone won’t stop ringing. Players, parents, reporters and others have all been calling up the George Washington boys baseball coach to talk about the breaking news that Mandl is being suspended for one year for violating the Public Schools Athletic League’s recruiting policy.

Hours after finding out, Mandl still can’t believe the news.

“I was made aware that the PSAL issued a suspension against me and I was shocked,” Mandl said. “The allegations were based on recruitment of a player for which I deny any wrongdoing.”

The legendary coach at George Washington is upset and is preaching his innocence after being suspended by the PSAL this afternoon. The PSAL released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that Mandl and Forest Hiils boys basketball coach Ben Chobhaphand are being suspended for a year after an investigation substantiated allegations that the two coaches were recruiting students.

“I was never given the benefit of any due process owed me as 28 years as an employee of the system to even answer the allegations in any formal proceeding,” Mandl said. “I’m angry and disgusted. This base of action can tarnish my reputation that I worked my whole life to build and I’m going to challenge it, it’s a false accusation, with every means at my disposal.”

The player which Mandl is said to have recruited is a current team member, but out of respect and privacy of the individual, he would not go into details. The coach was first notified last year when the school the player transferred from was forming a file complain. He was asked some questions and the player was interviewed this year.

Tuesday, he received a letter notifying him of the suspension. The PSAL’s rule about recruiting states: “It is the policy of the Department of Education that no school through any of its officers or by any other means shall directly or indirectly induce any student to sever connections with his/her school or to transfer schools for athletic purposes.”

Mandl was adamant that he did not violate the league’s rules.

Said Mandl: "I will say that the player and his family utilized all the proper procedures.”

When he told his team Tuesday, he said his players were shocked because they know the type of person their coach is and they know the individual in question and the details surrounding his transfer to George Washington. Mandl has won over 900 games and two city titles at George Washington, including a streak of 25 straight division titles. He added that he will worry about who will be the head coach "when it happens."

While Mandl tried to stay tightlipped about the situation, he did say that he plans to appeal the decision.

“I have to,” Mandl said. “If you don’t do anything wrong and you are suspended you have to take action.”

Week 10 marquee matchups (Bowl and Cup Division)

November, 10, 2010
While the PSAL Championship Division starts the playoffs, the bowl and cup divisions enter their final week of the season with playoff seeds on the line. Let’s look at the best matchups in the two division.

Truman at South Bronx (Saturday, 11 a.m.): The No. 2 and the No. 3 teams in the Bowl Division meet with a playoff spot on the line. Truman leads South Bronx by two points for the No. 2 seed. With only four teams making the playoffs in the Bowl Division, the winner will be safe while the loser will have to sweat it out. Thankfully, both teams are more than 65 points ahead of the No. 5 team, so it will help whoever loses. South Bronx has won five in a row.

August Martin at Bayside (Saturday, 11 a.m.): While the No. 2 and No. 3 teams face off at South Bronx, the No. 4 and No. 5 teams meet at Bayside. The loser of this game misses the playoffs, while the winner will most likely make it. August Martin leads Bayside and Tilden by 10 points for the final spot in the playoffs. Bayside has won three straight since losing three in a row in the middle of its schedule to drop to 3-3.

Tilden at Columbus (Saturday, Noon): Tilden is No. 6 in the Bowl standings, currently 10 points behind August Martin for a playoff spot. With Truman facing South Bronx and August Martin battling Bayside, Tilden could potentially sneak into the playoffs with a victory. It would be gaining valuable victory points if it were to beat Columbus, while the other wouldn’t benefit. Tilden also beat both South Bronx and Truman, so it will gain extra points there as well if it wins.

Stuyvesant at Petrides (Saturday, Noon): Petrides is No. 4 in the Cup Division and the last team in the playoffs at the moment. With a win against No. 6 Stuyvesant, Petrides can almost guarantee itself a spot in the playoffs. With a loss, things get dicey for Petrides as George Washington will most likely pass it with a win. Stuyvesant would need some help to make the playoffs, but with a win and a George Washington loss, could sneak in.

George Washington at Far Rockaway/FDA VI: George Washington needs Petrides or one of the top two teams to lose or it most likely will be sitting on the outside of the playoffs. The Trojans trail Petrides by 12 points for the final playoff spot and with a win and a Petrides loss, will move themselves up into the final spot for the playoffs. A loss by the Trojans will almost certainly exclude them from the playoffs.